Digital Skills Delivery in New Zealand
03 March 2022
The Far North District Libraries in New Zealand have created different workstreams to maximise all staff abilities. The different workstreams are Capability, Digital, Partnerships, Collections, Programmes, Children and Youth Services, and Outreach.
Libraries are so much more than books on shelves and, along with new databases, apps, STEAM programming, eBooks and eAudio collections, the basic skills required for librarians have increased dramatically. It became obvious that to be able to effectively help our patrons increase their digital skillset, we needed formalised training.
The Capability workstream team developed a digital competencies programme, called the Digital Driver Licence, which aim to increase staff digital confidence, build knowledge, and elevate our collective digital skill set through completion of the programme.
The programme started with an email asking staff to complete a digital confidence quiz. This was confidential and the information received was used as a benchmark to establish our level of proficiency. A post-completion check against the same data along with a couple of additional questions were used to assess whether this programme had any positive effect on digital confidence and skills. The goal was to create a programme to equip our staff with the skills they need now and into the future, starting with a capture of all digital/digital-adjacent skills required in one space. The skill capture was then packaged into this simple programme that aims to offer a fun, manageable opportunity to learn in either self-directed or peer group settings.
This Digital Drivers Licence’s professional development tool includes 10 digital competency areas pertaining to all library related applications we engage with in our libraries. The programme was designed to feel easy and short. It has few words to read but lots of actions to undertake. It also appeals to different learner styles and has its own bingo-style cover sheet where the participant ticks off each competency as they attain it. The ten categories are:
- APNK Authority – covers free computer, Chromebook, and print application skills
- Council Champ – covers Council applications including Outlook, OneDrive, Teams, Pathway, Tech1, ci-anywhere (Payroll), Peoplesafe (hazard management reporting tool)
- Apps Access – covers both Samsung and iOs basic operation, all eLibrary applications, eBooks, eMagazines databases skills
- Enterprise Explorer – covers library online catalogue skills
- Google Genius – covers Google skills, including searching, account setup, email, Drive, Docs, Sheets
- Hardware Hero – covers internal FNDC and library specific hardware skills i.e., projector, Equitrac copiers, Android and IOS devices, eReader device skills
- Marketing Maestro – covers FaceBook guidelines and posting, Canva video and marketing collateral creation skills
- Righteous Robots – covers general and specific tech items used in library programmes skills
- Workflows Wunderkind – covers the LMS skills needed for Workflows LMS
- Website Wizard – cover library webpages skills, including multiple databases and services e.g., Niche Academy, EBSCO, Ancestry, Mango Languages, BWB Collection, Who Else Writes Like, Haynes car manuals, PapersPast, Givme-Givus funding database
Each digital competency challenge has a checklist of tasks to tick off once completed, and help files consisting of links to appropriate websites, YouTube videos, training guides or guidelines. For example, ‘Google Genius’ has links to the different “How to use Google…” links and ‘Righteous Robots’ has links to helpful user information about the different tech items we have, like an online beginner’s guide to Minecraft or a YouTube video on how to start with Microbits.
Here are the Apps Access tasks as an example of the programme’s simplicity of design:
☐ I can download the Borrowbox App on both platforms and assist a customer through account setup, app navigation (requests, downloads, returns)
☐ I can download the Overdrive App on both platforms and assist a customer through account setup, app navigation (requests, downloads, returns)
☐ I can download Wheelers e-platform on both platforms and assist a customer through account setup, app navigation (requests, downloads, returns)
☐ I can download the Beamafilm App on both platforms and assist a customer through account setup, app navigation. I can explain how to chromecast/sync to TV
☐ I can download the PressReader App on both platforms and assist a customer through account setup, app navigation, select favourites. I can explain the requirement to log in to library wi-fi network every 30 days (script in supporting resources) to maintain login
☐ I can download the Lingogo App on both platforms and assist a customer through account setup, app navigation
There is also support in each digital competency area by different staff champions who can be contacted at any time, along with dial-in Teams sessions to ask questions and learn collectively. Once staff have completed a digital competency area, they are expected to be able to complete the task if asked to do so.
Written by: Sabine Weber-Beard, Senior Librarian, District Services, Far North District Council, New Zealand